Publishers Weekly - Publishers WeeklyFour paperback titles kick off the Sunscreen series of self-help books aimed at teens. Just Us Girls by Moka, with Melissa Daly, illus. by Eric Heliot, divided into "phases" (sections) tackle subjects such as girls' changing bodies, self-awareness and relating to others-plus lighter fare such as "experimenting with makeup." Sex Explained by Magali Clausener-Petit, with Daly, illus. by Soledad, navigates the body's changes (for boys and girls) during puberty, as well as such topics as intercourse, contraception and sexual crimes (e.g., rape and incest), offering advice on how not to become a victim. My Parents Are Getting Divorced by Florence Cadier, with Daly, illus. by Claire Gandini, can help kids caught in the middle, providing reassurance and advice: "Just listening to their fighting is hard enough; you shouldn't have to referee." Finally, Feeling Freakish? by V ronique le Jeune and Philippe Eliakim, with Daly, illus. by Princess H, tackles self-esteem issues and ends with quotes from real kids. Cartoons mix a comic touch with compassion: a girl confesses to a boy, "I can't go out with you because my ears stick out... I'm sure you understand." Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Sex: Explainedby Magali Clausener-Petit, Melissa Daly, Melissa Daly, Soledad
Children's LiteratureThis interesting, well-written book is designed for teens to help them understand the emotional and physical processes of their budding sexuality. Divided into four phases, phase one deals with physicality of the sexual being and the purpose for its existence. Issues such as male and female anatomy, fertilization and the developing fetus are frankly presented. Alternative methods of becoming a parent are also discussed. Phase two, "Your Growing Body," details the anatomical aspects of sexual maturation and how to handle any problems that may arise from these changes. Issues such as size of breasts or sexual organs, acne and menstruation and ejaculation are matter-of-factly discussed. Phase three gets into the main event with frank, but often humorous, discussions of sexual intercourse. Everything from the mystery of love and desire to kinds of sex, contraception, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases is covered. Even homosexuality is mentioned but without any mention of sexual acts, often a matter of curiosity among teens as well as adults. Phase four discusses everything else related to sex including the right say no to sex, rape, pedophilia and the difference between having sex and making love. The cartoon-like drawings are a perfect accompaniment to this "serious" subject, and while the tone is conversational, the research and information are up-to-date, making it a good book for parents and children to share and discuss. A bibliography, index and sources for further information are included. 2004, Amulet Books, Ages 10 up.
Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
VOYAAnother entry in the "light-hearted sex instruction book" category, this title takes a frothy look at some touchy topics. This book's phases are Sexuality and Life, Your Growing Body, Sexual Intercourse, and The Adventure Continues. The first section touches on the concrete details of sex and reproduction, body parts, and the growth of a fertilized egg into an infant. The second covers the changes that take place in both genders during puberty. The next section discusses everything from intercourse to oral sex and birth control to STDs. The final section tackles the darker side of sexuality, discussing rape, pedophilia, and incest, and how not to be a victim of these crimes. The tone is consistently forthright yet gentle throughout. Although the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is never a cold, clinical read. The authors always put the topic into the context of relationships, life, and personal choices. The layout is colorful and no doubt meant to draw in young readers, but the illustrations are literally juvenile. The people portrayed seem quite young for the acts that they are performing, and there is one image of a grinning flasher that simply seems out of place with this well-thought-out book. Younger readers will probably sneak peeks at this title just as they do with all the books in the 613.9 area of Dewey. Whether they will take it out on their own is another question. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2004, Amulet Books/Harry N. Abrams, 112p., Trade pb. Ages 11 to 14.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 6-8-Two French imports, one of which is just so-so and the other is a "no go." Sex Explained covers all the usual bases in its discussion of reproduction, intercourse, puberty, and human sexuality, written in a straightforward, even plodding style that offers nothing new or fresh. Abstinence is completely absent in its discussion of personal sexual choices. Feeling Freakish? devotes 81 pages to excruciating descriptions of all the ways and reasons that adolescents can feel unhappy about themselves, their bodies, and their relationships, then counters with 20 pages of platitudes urging readers to accept themselves as they are and emphasize their good points. The clincher, if all else fails, is to remember Aur lien, the novel by Louis Aragon, which begins, "The first time he saw Berenice, Aur lien found her frankly ugly," followed by 700 pages of falling in love with her. Be sure to include that one on the YA shelves! Both volumes are printed in color on thick stock, which gives them a juvenile appearance, and loaded with cartoon illustrations heavy on irony and sarcasm. The captions under the stages of fetal development in Sex Explained are in tiny light-colored print on a pastel background that is nearly impossible to read. Far better choices include Robie H. Harris's It's Perfectly Normal (Candlewick, 1994) and Lynda Madaras's The "What's Happening to My Body?" Book for Boys and The "What's Happening to My Body?" Book for Girls (both Newmarket, 2000).-Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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